First off, let's talk about Ellen. Ellen Ellen Ellen. She....wow. She was really really really good. Easily one of the best hosts I have ever seen. From a great running pizza gag to selfies, Ellen was going all out to appeal to the younger generation of viewers. This even had the unintended side effect of actually crashing Twitter briefly as over 2.5 MILLION people retweeted Ellen's picture that you see above in the span of about 2 hours. Can we just take a moment to think about how utterly ridiculous this is? Ya. Not only that, but the movie stars reacted to Ellen being eccentric and unpredictable just as though they were acting. As in really well. They were surprised, perplexed, laughing, and helping out when needed. A great multitude of actors came to Ellen's aid as she passed out pizza to everyone. That actually happened. But it wasn't just that. She constantly was doing something funny, electing to go for more modern humor and not creating much controversy in the process. (Remember Seth MacFarlane a few years back?) She was overall an excellent host, and one of the best of recent memory.
The tributes this year were slightly lackluster. The heroes tribute was the best, but it, like the animation tribute earlier in the night, were unnecessary. I think they both happened because we had a bad year for identifiable heroes. Man of Steel was a major disappointment, along with The Lone Ranger, not to mention the ENTIRE children's genre in terms of the animation tribute. (Minus Frozen) Honestly the Wizard of Oz tribute was the only tribute that had grounds for actually existing. The musical numbers were great, however. My personal favorite was Pharrell Williams performing Happy and dancing with Lupita Nyong'o, but The Moon Song was good as well. U2 had a good acoustic performance, even though it was a bit of a middle finger to that orchestra to not use them. Idina couldn't hit the note of the night, which was hugely unfortunate, but her performance of Let It Go was still excellent too.
As for the awards, the Oscars played it very safe this year. Of the Vegas favorites, the only 3 categories they missed were both shorts categories (which are unpredictable anyway because for the most part nobody can see them) and Best Documentary. Since we are excluding shorts, it is safe to say that the only ONLY upset of the Oscars this year was 20 Feet From Stardom winning Best Documentary over The Act of Killing. Which doesn't even matter because everyone knows that the best documentary of 2013 was Blackfish anyway.
Recently the Academy has been obsessed with it's image. The media was already getting on the train of if you don't give 12 Years a Slave Best Picture, you're all racists to the point that Ellen actually included it in her opening monologue. And while I will have a separate article on why 12 Years a Slave did not deserve Best Picture, (I know I'm NOT a racist so I don't care if you think I am) the Academy didn't have any bold upsets this year, such as giving Best Actress to Amy Adams or Best Actor to Leo. Lord knows we can't imply that we support what he did, right?? While I stand by the statement I made in an earlier article about Leo's performance in Wolf of Wall Street being the best acting performance of 2013, I knew there was no way that they would actually give him an Oscar. The safe decision was to give it to the man who played a guy suffering from AIDS. While I am very happy McConaughey completed his Ben Affleck recovery story with an Oscar in his had, I really wish that this would've been the year for Leo. Next time....again....
The coolest speech of the night was Cate Blanchett's. She spent most of her speech telling us how good the other actresses were this year in their performances. I can respect that as a class act. Jared Leto gets a close second though. While there was some pretentious self-promotion, he did have a nice portion devoting his win to AIDS patients everywhere. I can respect that.
Big Winner: Gravity's clean sweep of the technical categories. I predicted this would happen, but I didn't think it actually would. And now there are a bunch of haters that exist because of Gravity's well-deserving seven wins. While it lost to white guilt for Best Picture, it will be the movie of 2013 that we remember 20 years from now, so it doesn't matter.
Big Loser: American Hustle. What....nine nominations? I think? Maybe ten. But a lot. With no wins. None. While I figured it was going to lose out on a lot of its nominations, I was hoping for at least one win out of Costumes. It is so much harder to make costumes look good for a movie based on a period that people who are alive have lived through. Ok. That was really confusing, so let's try again. It is so much harder to accurately recreate costumes for a period that people who are alive today actually lived through (there are plenty of people alive now that lived through the 70s) than it is for a movie to accurately recreate costumes from a period that people can't remember. (There are very few people alive today who lived through the 20s) Make sense? I hope so. That's the primary reason why I felt American Hustle deserved the award for Costume Design over Gatsby. Anyway...ya. Poor American Hustle.
To sum up, thought that this year's Oscars were great. While there were no major upsets, and several unnecessary tributes, they were still very enjoyable. And only a few controversial moments! (Remember the part where John Travolta came on stage blazed and couldn't pronounce Idina Menzel's name? Ya I hope we never see Travolta on stage at the Oscars again.) Now....it's time for life to go back to being normal. Great. What am I going to do with all this free time? Watch 12 Years a Slave again and do immense research on it and write an entirely too-detailed article on why it didn't deserve Best Picture? OK! LET'S DO IT!
My grade for the Oscars 2014: B+
Strong Points: Ellen, Musical Performances
Weak Points: Bad Tributes, Safe picks from the Academy